2019 College Football Playoff Rankings Projections After Week 12: A Quiet Elimination Weekend


Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: J.K. Dobbins.

Nov 19, 2019, 11:30 PM EST

Week 12 had the potential to cause mass chaos in the College Football Playoff landscape, but it came and went without much fanfare in the actual final results.

Oklahoma mounted a huge comeback over Baylor, Georgia held off a late surge from Auburn, and Alabama won but lost its quarterback for the season.

Below we’re projecting the top 25 for the College Football Playoff rankings on Tuesday, and breaking down scenarios below along with projected point spreads for remaining games to see the likelihood of each team winning out.

These rankings are not meant to judge each team — that’s where our betting power ratings come in. Those are predictive, forward-looking and rooted in true boxscore data, not just wins and losses.

Projected College Football Playoff Rankings

CFP Scenarios & Breakdown

We’ve broken down each College Football Playoff contender into one of three categories.

  • The elite teams that will be favored in all their remaining games and control their own path to the CFP.
  • Teams that aren’t guaranteed a spot if they win out, but would definitely be in the mix. These teams would benefit from chaos elsewhere.
  • The teams that are guaranteed a spot if they win out, but will be an underdog in at least one remaining game, so winning out is far from a sure thing.

We’ve also listed each team’s record, point spreads in for their remaining games via our oddsmaker-style power ratings, and FiveThirtyEight.com’s playoff projection chances.

The Real CFP Contenders


  • Record: 11-0
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 90%
  • Remaining Games: at South Carolina (-21)

Clemson will be a three-touchdown favorite in both of its remaining games, including the ACC Championship Game, so there’s little reason to expect the Tigers to miss out on the semifinals.

Ohio State

  • Record: 10-0
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 63%
  • Remaining Games: vs. PSU (-17.5), at Michigan (-15.5)

The Buckeyes lost the top spot in our power ratings after allowing 21 points to Rutgers in a non-covering effort.

Ohio State will be a double-digit favorite in all their remaining games, including the Big Ten Championship Game. Unless something were to happen to quarterback Justin Fields. Then we’d have to talk about this team missing the CFP.


  • Record: 10-0
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 68%
  • Remaining Games: at Arkansas (-32), Texas A&M (-15)

LSU just keeps rolling, this week in a road win over Ole Miss. The Tigers could still make the College Football Playoff with one loss, but they’d be much better served by just winning out, including against Georgia in the SEC Championship Game.

Would Benefit From Chaos


  • Record: 9-1
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 35%
  • Remaining Games: TCU ( -18.5), at OK State (-16)

Oklahoma’s comeback win over Baylor keeps the Sooners very much in the College Football Playoff hunt. They’ll likely play Baylor again in the Big 12 Championship Game.


  • Record: 9-1
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 35%
  • Remaining Games: at Arizona State (-11.5), Oregon State (-18.5)

Oregon took care of business 34-6 on Saturday and is still on a collision course with Utah in the Pac-12 title game.


  • Record: 9-1
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 26%
  • Remaining Games: at Arizona (-16), Colorado (-25)

Utah took care of business against UCLA on Saturday, and all roads are pointing to the Utes meeting Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship with a potential CFP spot on the line.

Again, both these teams would greatly benefit from chaos elsewhere.


  • Record: 9-1
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 12%
  • Remaining Games: WCU (N/A), at Auburn (-9.5)

Tua Tagovailoa’s season-ending injury feels like the death blow to Alabama’s playoff chances, though you can never count the Tide out until the very end. It just doesn’t seem like a one-loss, non-conference champ with almost no signature wins and no star quarterback deserves a spot in the College Football Playoff.

We think Tua is worth about a touchdown to the spread, which would make the Tide less than a field goal favorite at Auburn to end the season.

Still Control Their Own Path, But Need an Upset


  • Record: 9-1
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 44%
  • Toughest Games: Texas A&M (-11.5), at Georgia Tech (-28.5)

Georgia isn’t blowing anybody out like LSU or Clemson, but the Dawgs continue to take care of business. They did again on Saturday in a 21-14 win over Auburn.

UGA can get to the College Football Playoff with three straight wins, but will be an underdog to LSU in the SEC Championship Game.

Penn State

  • Record: 9-1
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 13%
  • Remaining Games: at Ohio State (+17.5), Rutgers (-43)

Penn State could have reached the playoff with a win over Minnesota and then a loss to Ohio State, but now the Nittany Lions need to upset the Buckeyes as a two-touchdown underdog to have any chance.

Geoff Burke, USA Today Sports. Pictured: James Franklin


  • Record: 9-1
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 4%
  • Remaining Games: Northwestern (-7.5), Wisconsin (+11.5),

I considered moving Minnesota to the eliminated section after its loss to Iowa on Saturday, but I do believe a one-loss, Big Ten champion Gophers team will get into the CFP.

Trouble is, they’ll need upsets over Wisconsin and Ohio State to get there.

Eliminated on Saturday


  • Record: 9-1
  • College Football Playoff Odds: 3%
  • Remaining Games: vs. Oklahoma (+12), vs. Texas (-2)

If the committee didn’t want to rank unbeaten Baylor in the top 10 this week, it seems unlikely a one-loss Bears team gets in, even if they beat Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game.

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